Sunday, February 19, 2012

Historical charter award for Singapore as at 2011

Occupations of CFA Chartered holders in Singapore as at September 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

8th December 2011 Charter Recognition Ceremony

On the 8th December 2011, I attended the charter recognition ceremony. I received my charter during the ceremony. The charter is so large that I had a hard time trying to photostate it!

Out of 241 new charter holders in Singapore, 85 registered to come for this ceremony. Some people already got their charter by post but they came anyway for the ceremony to have their photo taken using a dummy charter.

During the buffet dinner, I had some time to make new friends. They came from all walks of life. One was a relationship manager from a private bank, another was a strategist from a sovereign wealth company and still another deal with platform in a large investment bank. Still another deal with financing for traders. I did not know there are so many different occupations and companies in Singapore!

Receiving this charter is quite meaningful to me. While I received my first degree many years ago, I took that degree because I did not know exactly what I wanted to do in life. At that time, my “A” level results were good enough for me to select any of the faculties in NUS. I selected that particular faculty because it was the best; apparently many top students selected it. This time round, I took the CFA charter because I wanted to and not because of following the herd.

The need to juggle between work, family and studies made my achievement even more meaningful.

I am really happy to be part of the world wide alumni. Anyway, I’ve decided to volunteer in the local society and hope make more new friends and expand my social circles…

Friday, September 9, 2011

CFA Charter letters

I received the CFA Charter award confirmation on 2 September 2011 through email. Today, I received the confirmation through physical mail. The charter will be mailed in December this year. Well, I guess this wraps up the three years of huge sacrifices. I have now obtain the prestigious award. What’s next? I am not sure…

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Occupations of CFA Chartered holders in Singapore as at September 2010

Historical charter award for Singapore as at 2010

Below is the historical awarded of the charter for Singapore as at 2010.

How many candidates were no-show for 2011 for the CFA exams?

There were 144,900 candidates who registered for the exam for June 2011 CFA exams (including L1, L2 and L3 exams). The breakdown of these registered candidates by geographical regions were as follows:

June 2011 Registered Candidates





Europe, Middle East, and Africa



Asia Pacific






However, only 115,027 actually sat for the exams. This means 144900-115027 = 29,873 or 20.6% were no show! The passing rate by levels are as follows:

June 2011 passing rate by levels

Sat for exam

Actual passes

Passing rate %

Level 1




Level 2




Level 3









Wednesday, August 17, 2011

CFA Institute Announces June 2011 Worldwide CFA Exam Results

Press release:

Historical passing rates:

I passed the 2011 CFA Level 3 examination!!

Yupiee! I passed the CFA Level 3 examination. According to the CFA website, the passing rates for 2011 were:

Level I: 39%
Level II: 43%
Level III: 51%

I just paid my dues of amount US$325. Now have to wait again for the confirmation on my CFA chartered designation which I heard the confirmation email will only be sent on 1 September 2011 while the physical certificate will be mail to me after 1 Oct 2011.

For this year, I think I did not do as well as the first two levels as my scores were not perfect. My goal is to score more than 70% in every topics. Previously, my scores for L1 and L2 were near perfect. This time in L3, it was far from perfect. Here are my scores:

As a consolation, many forumers HERE did not do as well. In that forum, most active members tend to be the better candidates and their scores are biased upwards. So I guess I am OK :)

In the meantime, here is a youtube video to celebrate:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

August 16 2011 the D-day

August 16 2011 9PM (Singapore time) is the date which CFA Institute’s email server will start sending out exam results to all CFA Level 3 exam candidates.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Horray! Finished the exam, or got finished?

I am so glad it is over. It was a hell of a day today not because the exam itself was a killer but it was a freak weather this morning! When I got up early in the morning, the rain just became stronger and stronger. I was worried that there will be no cab to take to Expo Hall 5. When my friend and I who shared the cab arrived at the destination, the cab queue to enter the cab area was soooo looongggg. At the end, we decided to alight in middle of the road. I felt like as if the rain could just blow me away to the Neverland.

What I saw at the destination was quite chaotic. Due to the heavy rain, everybody was crowding anywhere there was a shelter. So it was very difficult to ascertain what was happening. After analyzing the situation, I figured the direction I should go. I took my writing tools and placed my bag at the assigned place. Than later on I saw someone slipped and felt due to the slippery floor. Opps, I guess that fall must had caused 10% marks from being deducted due to temporary volatility to the brain!
In the hall that I was seated, it consists of L1, L2 and L3 candidates. So they have to read two sets of instructions because L1 and L2 are multiple choices while L3 are written essay questions. So the overall length of time for instruction listening was multiplied by a factor of 2!

Unfortunately, many candidates were late probability because of the rain. They were not allowed into the hall at around 8:45am as the question papers were being distributed during that time. They were only allowed in after the exam started. So sad for them as they wasted at least 3-5 minutes trying to figure out what to do with the question paper and not to mention to panic and shock of being bar from entering into the hall for 15 minutes (8:45am to 9am). This means they lost 3-5 minutes worth of points!

Lunch time was equally chaotic. I had a hard time retrieving my personal belonging from the designated place because of the huge crowd of candidates trying to do the same thing.

I had to queue at the food court to buy my lunch. Moreover, the rain had not stopped. By the way, I saw a mother screaming at the crowd of CFA candidates because she was being overwhelmed by large crowd of candidates coming out of the exam hall for lunch break. She was with a baby on a stroller. Well, mother like her was there to visit Motherhood exhibition to buy cheap cheap stuff for baby et al.
I did not have time to drink water nor go to the wash room. So I reentered into the exam hall at around 1:20pm so that I can visit the wash room and drink water from the water disperser after I checked-in. For the afternoon session, I completed answering all questions half an hour earlier. I managed to check through half of the questions. This was in contrasts to the morning paper which I hardly managed to complete answering although I think I managed to answer all questions which I know but only leaving out questions I do not know.

When I left the exam hall after the completion of exam, I got struck again but this time right at the exit of the hall! The crowd appeared to refuse to move. I discovered that most candidates placed their personal belongings right in front of the exam hall’s entrance. Maybe they thought the crowd during lunch break that was trying to retrieve their personal belongings at the designated place was just too overwhelming. So now everybody placed their belongings at another place. Boy were they wrong! I guess they must had fell into the Gamber’s Fallancy or perhaps Recallability bias. It turns out that the designated place had hardly anybody! I walked freely to the designated place and took my belongings and went back home.
I think I should be able to pass the Level 3 exam despite continuous recollection of wrong answers I gave due to pressure! Oh yes, my right hand had a cram during the afternoon paper. Thank goodness it recovered quickly! I think I was too tense and it was also quite cold.

The following is a song of celebration:

This is it. 5 June 2011 9am.

When this post goes up automatically at 9am Singapore time, I’ll be in Expo Hall 5 looking at the AM section of the paper. What will I see? IPS? Portfolio Management? Cash and Carry Arbitrage? Perhaps some Behavior Finance thrown in.

This is the last installment of the three parts exam for the CFA Program. It has been a crazy three years of so much sacrifice. When I first started L1, the economy was in deep sh*t and the US almost went belly up. So I thought the recession is going to last for at least three years. That was why I sign up for this three years exam. Little do I know that the economy picked up so fast. I do not know how much money I lost due to the opportunity cost in not meeting clients during this bull run. Moreover, I spent so much time studying that I must admit I feel guilty spending less time with kids and my wife. Now, the latest I read is that the US debt is exploding and may even default. Does it mean that we are going into Financial Crisis II? Looks like business cycle is getting really short these days although the curriculum say it is more than 1 decade!

The huge amount of brain power to be put into the CFA Program is not everyone’s cup of tea. To make it worst, I’ve to study and work at the same time. Most people who takes the CFA Program are working personnel because one of the requirement is the necessity to have a Degree. This means, candidates are likely working. That what makes the examination so difficult as there is so little time to study. The Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK) is so huge and vast in materials that it is almost impossible to remember it,

The Level 3 exam is quite different from the first two. In Level 1, the scope is wide and the killer is the Financial Statement Analysis. In Level 2, the scope is deep and the killer is derivative. In Level 3… I don’t know what to say! The AM section of the paper is a written exam. It will be a totally new experience. Overall, Level 3 appears to be mainly qualitative which makes it very tough for people like me who cannot remember facts because I am better in formulae. Still, I think Level 3 is easier compared with the first two. However, I read in the forum of this person who studied 300 hours and did all the EOCs etc, but he still failed his Level 3. Thus, Overconfidence can be detrimental. Perhaps it is better to be adopt the Prudence otherwise I may Regret later. I am crazy reciting all these L3 stuff!

All the best everybody for the exam. I don’t wish to see anyone of you and myself in the same hall again next year. May we never ever meet again in the exam hall after today. Let’s meet up for a drink partying for the passing of the L3 exam. I look forward seeing all of you obtaining your CFA Chartered Holder designation. All the best and may this music from Rocky inspire you:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

144,900 Candidates Register for June 2011 CFA Exams, largest from Asia

144,900 Candidates Register for June 2011 CFA Exams for which 42% comes from Asia.

Source: 144,900 Candidates Register for June 2011 CFA Exams

Countdown: One more day!

One more day before the storm!
Do I follow where she goes?
At the barricades of freedom.
Shall I join my brothers there?
When our ranks begin to form,
Do I stay, and do I dare?
Will you take your place with me?
The time is now.
The day is here.

....Tomorrow we'll discover
What our God in Heaven has in store!
One more dawn
One more day
One day more!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Countdown: Four Days

It's the final countdown
We're leaving together
The final countdown
We'll all miss her so
It's the final countdown to the CFA Level 3 Examination!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Countdown: Five days

Risin' up, straight to the top
Have the guts, got the glory
Went the distance, now I'm not gonna stop
Just a man and his will to survive

Monday, May 30, 2011

Countdown : Six days

Standing there alone
The ship is waiting
All systems are go
Are you sure?
Control is not convinced
But the computer
Has the evidence
No need to abort
The countdown starts...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The final countdown - 11 days more!

The exam is coming. On 5 June 2011, I will be sitting for the final installment of the CFA examination. This has been an extremely long journey over three years. The opportunity cost has been beyond measurement. Over these three years, my kids grew up significantly both physically and in maturity. I did not have much time with them to play and chat due to work and exam commitment. It has been extremely exhausting both mentally and physical. This reminds me of road march during National Service except that the CFA exam is a mental road march over there years.

The final installment of CFA exam is very different from the first two. It is very much qualitative than quantitative. It focuses more on application than mere reciting of formulae from the brain. I believe those who are not in the financial sector will find Level 3 to be very taught as it is the first time huge amount of materials are consolidated for application.

The following are my scores so far:
Schweser 2011 Practice Exam Vol 2 Exam 1 AM – no score, practice only
Schweser 2011 Practice Exam Vol 2 Exam 1 PM - 65%
Schweser 2011 Practice Exam Vol 2 Exam 2 AM – no score, practice only
Schweser 2011 Practice Exam Vol 2 Exam 2 PM 78%
Schweser 2011 Practice Exam Vol 2 Exam 3 AM – 61%
Schweser 2011 Practice Exam Vol 2 Exam 3 PM - 68%
CFA 2010 Level III Real AM Exam - 77.2%
CFA 2011 Level III Mock PM Exam - 73%

For the final week prior to my actual exam, I intent to do the following:
Read Asset Manager Code
Read Ethics
Read Formula sheet
Read IPS Templates
Read through all examples in the CFAI text
Read through undone real pass year papers

Update (26/5/2011):
CFA 2009 Level III Real AM Exam - 76%
CFA 2010 Level III Mock PM Exam - 73%

Update (29/5/2011):
CFA 2008 Level III Real AM Exam - 62% (lost 18 points or 15% because of time)
Schweser 2011 Practice Exam Vol 1 Exam 1 PM 78%

Update (2/6/2011):
Schweser 2011 Practice Exam Vol 2 Exam 1 PM 82%

Friday, April 15, 2011

Status Update

It has been extremely long since I blog. I participated in AnalystForum actively which explains my absence from this blog.

So far, I have found the Level 3 to be a very different animal altogether compared with L1 and L2. There are so much qualitative materials involved. Moreover, the morning essay paper is scaring me due to the open-ended questions.

I was quite disappointed with the Schweser materials. I found the notes to be of poor quality. I have read most of the CFA textbooks and found that many areas of the Schweser notes differ. Some are just nonsense while some was not even found in the CFA text. Some examples are:

*** start examples ***

LOS26j. evaluate the theoretical and practical effects of including additional asset classes in an asset allocation;

My comment: Schweser focuses on the wrong theoretical and practical effects

LOS28g. demonstrate the process of rebalancing a portfolio to reestablish a desired dollar duration;

My comment: Schweser talk about controlling position rebalancing duration but this isn't in the text.

LOS28k. compare and contrast immunization strategies for a single liability, multiple
liabilities, and general cash flows;

My comment: Schweser gave three conditions that must be satisfied to immunize mulitple liabilities but CFAI text provided only two.

LOS28m. demonstrate the use of cash flow matching to fund a fixed set of future liabilities and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of cash flow matching to those of immunization strategies.

My comment: Schweser notes touch on extension of cash flow matching using combination matching but LOS did not mention the need to learn that.

LOS31d. compare and contrast duration-based approaches with interest rate sensitivity approaches to hedging mortgage securities.

My comment: Schweser gave 5 assumptions of two-bonds hedge but CFAI only gave 4.

LOS32m. compare and contrast long–short versus long-only investment strategies,
including their risks and potential alphas, and explain why greater pricing
inefficiency may exist on the short side of the market;

My comments: There is some loss of meaning when Schweser notes paraphrase the 4 reasons why there could be inefficiencies on the short side. E.g., Schweser notes forgot to mention that sell-side analyst could earn more commission recommending a 'buy' because there is a larger pool of potential buyers as compared to sellers.

LOS32o. compare and contrast the sell disciplines of active investors;

My comment: Why Schweser notes talk about turnover of active investors when LOS don’t require it?

*** end examples ***

As a result, I have to construct my own notes. In addition, I have found the Schweser Videos to be poorly produced. One of the main lecturer was very lousy. I gave up on him. Perhaps the number of L3 candidates are just too few for Schweser to invest in the L3 examinations.

The Qbank is also hopeless. It is just too easy. In other words, the entire Schweser package (notes + videos + Qbank) was a complete letdown. The exception is at least I can email to the Schweser professors to ask them question.

I have already studied one cycle. I am in my half cycle – Reading 34 to be prĂ©cised doing EOCs. There are 14 Readings to go which I hope I’ll complete doing all the EOCs by end of this month in April. For the entire month in May, I should be doing mock exams and past year exams. I have no intention to work in May. So I should have the full 30 days.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Why the duration of a Zero is the years to maturity?

Why the duration for a zero is the same as the maturity in years? I have never figured it out since L2 although I memorized it just for the sake of passing the exam. Here is a simple calculation on a zero coupon of maturity 10 years for $100 par. The discount rate, yield to maturity is the same. The various present values for the respective discount rates are:

4.50% 64.3927682
5.00% 61.39132535
5.50% 58.54305794

Duration = (V- - V+)/(2 * Vo * (Delta Y) )

V- = 64.3927682
V+ = 58.54305794
Vo = 61.39132535
Delta Y = 0.005

Thus, duration = 9.528561611

Hence, this demonstrate that duration of a zero is NOT equal to years. In fact, duration itself has no dimension. How could it be compared with a variable with dimension?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

CFA Level 3 Curriculum Changes (2010-2011)

I would like to share the changes of 2010 and 2011 for CFA Level 3 exams which I found from this link:

Friday, February 4, 2011

Rebalancing the Duration (Reading 28)

This Reading 28 is terrible because the author makes 'sweeping' statements without proof. Nevertheless I guess it is more qualitative than quantitative. So I just have to memorise it.

In the CFA text, rebalancing the fixed income portfolio is done by applying a rebalancing ratio to all securities to maintain the same asset allocation. But in the Schweser notes page 29 of the Reading 28, it also state an additional method called the controlling position method to rebalance the duration. But this second method changes the asset allocation significantly. It is also not in the CFA text. Why does Schweser notes want to add its own material in?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Reading 23 The killer reading (Capital Market expectations)

Realised that the reading required knowledge on Macroeconomics from L1 and L2. I spent few days doing revision on L1 and L2. Horrible.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Challenging 2011

The new year has started. This year is going to be a very challenging year for me. New responsibilities at work place is going to add extra pressure on me. This is in addition to the usual concern on making a living. My income has become quite volatile and I have to do something about it. Besides, health is always a problem because the CFA exams require super mental health which can only be achieved if there is a physical health. Since I started the CFA program in 2008, I have been exercising although I must admit it was not as regular as I wanted. I need to increase the exercise regime to stay fit. There are so many things to do, more and more but earning less and less.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Regular Membership

My application for Regular Membership was approved on 18th Oct 2010. However, I did not want to pay for the membership fee since I have not yet pass the Level 3. No point paying for the membership fee since I am not able the use the CFA designation without passing the L3 exam. I had confirmation for CFA Institute that I do not have a timeline to pay.

No calculation in LOS but EOC full of calculation?

Was studying Reading 22 – Allocating Shareholder Capital to Pension Plans. None of the LOSes require any computation nor calculation. Yet, the end of chapter is full of calculation. This is terrible. Can I trust the LOSes?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Apply for membership

I’ve managed to start the ball rolling in application for the CFA membership. There are two types of membership – Affiliate and Regular. While applying for the level 3 exams, the membership application was also done at the same time. I managed to get two sponsors. My own supervisor and other CFA Charterholder. For Supervisor sponsor, there were 4 questions asked. One was whether the individual (1) fulfill certain job guideline (2) Whether these job guidelines exceed 50% of the individual time (3) a detailed job description of the applicant and (4) whether was there any disciplinary problem.

Surprise to me is relating to the detailed job description that the Supervisor has to input. I do not know whether are these the same questions which the other CFA Charterholder has to answer.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Getting really philosophical

I started reading the Volume 2 and am amazed by the philosophy. Well, looks like the start of no-life..

Registered for L3

Upon realising that the USDSGD is now at its 5 year low, I decided to take a position by registrating for the L3 exam. I ordered the ebook too. The download took forever. The ebook seems to be some cheapo software. Terrible.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Yipee! I passed my CFA Level 2!!!

I waited for so longggg yesterday for my result to be emailed to me. I was dismay that I didn't receive the result despite many candidates receiving it. I received the result almost 6 hours after everybody got their result. Later I realised it is because I was using a Yahoo email which was causing the problem. I'll dump my Yahoo email soon for such unreliability.

Anyway I passed the June 2010 Level 2 CFA exam. Below is the result:

The passing rate was 39%. I felt it was a very difficult exam. The historical passing rate as follows:

2005 June 56%
2006 June 48%
2007 June 40%
2008 June 46%
2009 June 41%
2010 June 39%


Well, one more level to go! But first, I've to build up my health which I found was one of a significant barrier when I was doing the Level 2.